went to Davos back in 2017 but wasn’t in attendance this year, which means that he wasn’t there to hear George Soros call him “the most dangerous opponent of those who believe in the concept of open society.”hinese President Xi Jinping
At the gathering of plutocrats in Switerzland, Soros used his annual speech to warn of how Xi could use new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning to exert an even tighter grip of control upon China, mentioning the country’s upcoming social credit score system in particular.
“China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world but it is the wealthiest, strongest and technologically most advanced,” the 88-year-old Hungarian-born billionaire declared. “This makes Xi Jinping the most dangerous opponent of open societies.”
Soros’ comments are perhaps the most critical ones ever publicly uttered against Xi by a member of the global top 1 percent, a group that often has significant financial interests in the Middle Kingdom. Soros is famous for using his billions to help fund human rights efforts and liberal democratic projects around the globe, making big donations to the Democratic Party and becoming the boogeyman of right-wing groups.
In his speech, Soros criticized Donald Trump for not being hard enough on China, calling for the president to focus his trade wars squarely on Beijing and crack down harder on Chinese tech companies like Huawei and ZTE. “If these companies came to dominate the 5G market, they would present an unacceptable security risk for the rest of the world,” he warned.
However, Soros’ speech wasn’t all doom and gloom. He also pointed towards his hope in the Chinese people:
All we can do is to draw a sharp distinction between them and Xi Jinping. Since Xi has declared his hostility to open society, the Chinese people remain our main source of hope.
And there are, in fact, grounds for hope. As some China experts have explained to me, there is a Confucian tradition, according to which advisors of the emperor are expected to speak out when they strongly disagree with one of his actions or decrees, even if that it may result in exile or execution.
This came as a great relief to me when I had been on the verge of despair. The committed defenders of open society in China, who are around my age, have mostly retired and their places have been taken by younger people who are dependent on Xi Jinping for promotion. But a new political elite has emerged that is willing to uphold the Confucian tradition. This means that Xi will continue to have a political opposition at home.
You can read his full speech here.
At a press conference on Friday, China’s foreign ministry said that Soros’ remarks were “meaningless and not worth refuting.”